Sunday 27 October 2019

I Believe

"I believe in seeds; I believe in water; I believe in ideas" 

So said Mick Jones in 'A National Anthem' - a song he and Tony James wrote together for their (truly wonderful) band Carbon Silicon who were knocking around just after the turn of the millennium. Some bright spark, it may have been Alan McGee, said, when trying to describe them: "Imagine the Rolling Stones jamming with a laptop." He wasn't far wrong. This version, which leans heavily on Marvin Gaye's Heard it Thru the Grapevine, is, I think, far superior to the heavily sanitised recording that appeared much later on their 2007 release The Last Post (by which time, possibly fearing a plagiarism lawsuit, they'd dropped the Grapevine motif).

01 A National Anthem.mp301 A National Anthem.mp3

Saturday 26 October 2019

You're Joking

I so need to see this film. Not least because Rock & Roll Part 2 is, allegedly, the glue that binds the movie together. I may, of course, be exaggerating, but from the reviews I've read (and the clip/trailer I've seen - below) it would lead me to believe that this defining glam anthem penned by Mike Leander and Paul Gadd (Gary G**tter) in 1972 is, again, finding a new audience. I've name-checked the song (and the singer too, for that matter) here before: long story short, we need to separate the art from the artist. People get prissy about the Leader (and rightly so), but banning his music from being played on national radio isn't the way forward. If we continue down that road then it's only a matter of time before Led Zeppelin suffer a similar fate; read Hammer of the Gods if you want a flavour of just how young Jimmy Page liked his groupies. 

Joker - 2019

Saturday 19 October 2019

Full Speed Ahead

Gordon Tracy; pilot of T4 (2043-)
Despite assurances from many Beatles scholars to the contrary, I can't shake the notion that - even if only in a subliminal way - the idea for Yellow Submarine came from Thunderbirds. Thunderbird 4 - first seen on UK television screens* in 1964 - is yellow, and is a submarine. Step forward Gerry Anderson and take your rightful place in Beatles history. 

However, since Anderson passed away in 2012, it will probably be simpler for Macca to 'come out' and be ingratiated into the extended Tracy family. Full speed ahead.

* I am aware that TV in this country at the time was black and white, but Thunderbird merchandising, though in its infancy, (comics, toys etc.) was still a thing.

Friday 18 October 2019

The Dude Abides

Library photo; I'm not Pete bloody Townshend
I tweeted last week that my guitar was in dock. I'd suffered a six string malfunction just prior to playing a terrific local Open Mic session at the top of my road. I shan't bore you with the details, suffice it to say that with the help of three people, normal service has been resumed.

Erica - for lending me her guitar that night.
Ben - my good friend at the Crafty Teller for giving me the phone number of...
Dicky Fontaine - guitar doctor extraordinaire; a shining light in these times of doom & despair; a Dude.

Thank you all. Especially Dicky. Have a great tour, man.

Dicky Fontaine, Nottingham 2019

Tuesday 15 October 2019


The Late Late Show comes out of Dublin every Friday night and is as Irish as, I don't know, leprechauns. The Blarney Stone. Father Ted. Tell you what, roll all three of those into one, put it into an RTÉ television studio and that's the Late Late (as it's known over there). It's been running since 1961 and in that time has only had five presenters, including the saint like Gay Byrne and the irrepressible Gerry Ryan.

D. Cullen on the other hand, whilst very much Irish, is still only a gossoon; he's barely old enough to remember the Millennium. But that didn't stop him playing his new single on the show earlier this month; or bringing a choir with him. Fair play. I think if I was debuting my new single on Ireland's Number 1 chat show, I'd bring along a choir. And a tasty horn section. And a few friends too, what the hell.

So, I don't know what it is - whether it's his voice, the piano, the tempo, or even the choir but I definitely get the feeling John Lennon would approve. I certainly do - it's a shoo in for my end of year Best Of, to be sure.

D. Cullen - Alright (2019)

Friday 11 October 2019

That much I do remember

I can go through vast swathes of my record collection, especially singles, and tell you exactly where and when I first heard them; a time and a place. Like a lot of other memories, some of them are easier to retrieve than others. When I look at the back issues of this blog I think I allude to these memories quite a bit - even if I don't give precise longitude and attitude; or the runners and riders. And anyway, memories can be unreliable. A bit like this blog, really. Like I've said before, I write it for me essentially. That's why it's my version of what's going on. I have no timetable to work to, no regular features and no minimum word count. My fact count though is generally above average.

In the main, most people who knock on my front door are kind of lost; they're usually looking for someone (or something) else. But they're always polite and never leave until they've had a cup of tea and a biscuit, and a bit of a nose around. They sometimes say nice things in the visitors book before I send them on their way with some lame directions, and everyone's a winner. Teamwork makes the dream work, I think is the current parlance.

Sorry, where was I? Songs and memories, I remember. I love this song btw. A lot. That much I do remember.

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Into My Arms (1997)

Sunday 6 October 2019

Steppin' Out

It's hard to think of your parents as young - having a life before you arrived. When everything stretched out before them; when everything was possible. I'm paraphrasing Ben Watt - please read his account of his parents' lives before he arrived. You'll be glad you did. In the meantime, here's a photo of my mum and dad (before I came along) when they were on the (b)rink... 

Joe Jackson - Steppin' Out (1982)

Saturday 5 October 2019

And in the End

It was the last album the Beatles recorded together, though not the last album they released (that would be Let it Be). And it's our next Sunday Vinyl Session. I went to see Mark Lewisohn's mesmerising talk last Sunday, so Abbey Road is sitting at the front of my cerebral cortex; where it's been for the last 50 years, pretty much.

George & Paul (vocals only) - Something (1969)

Wednesday 2 October 2019

Thomas Earl Petty

I don't normally mark anniversaries around here, of the living or the dead, but two years ago today Tom Petty closed his umbrella for the last time. He was one of the few acts who I always wanted to catch live but for one reason or another the planets never aligned; though looking at his concert archive Petty's appearances on this side of the Atlantic were pretty few and far between. His first gig in England, June 1977, was opening for fellow American Nils Lofgren at Manchester Free Trade Hall. His last, July 2017, saw him headlining London's Hyde Park. A career arc, if ever there was one, bookended by two shows almost exactly 40 years apart.

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - I Need to Know (1978)